MFC Team Blog

Why We Keep Marching

By Meredith Campbell, Director of Public Policy
Minnesota Family Council

It seems there are a number of marches these days. Women’s marches, immigrant marches, marches against the President’s cabinet nominees. People are marching so often, some may even feel left out if their cause doesn't take to the streets.

Though I'm not usually one to hit the pavement, preferring instead to work behind the scenes, I found myself on the steps of the State Capitol participating in this year's annual March for Life (organized by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life) a few Sundays ago.

There we were: 5,000 or so of us, shuffling along the sidewalks, waving “PROTECT LIFE” signs, and cheering on speakers who enthusiastically advocated the importance of pro-life, pro-family values.

In these dim times, we need to be lights shining brightly
in a world that's pulling the curtains on life.

That’s what drove me to join thousands of strangers dedicated to a single, crucial cause.

On the heels of the so-called "women’s" march the previous day, where some women were excluded from participation due to their pro-life stances, the March for Life was a breath of fresh air that many had attempted to suffocate.

An honest discussion of women’s rights, of human rights, must begin with acknowledging the most fundamental human right: the right to life.

Because human life is a gift from God, it is sacred and must be protected at all stages.  We are responsible to protect the life and dignity of the most vulnerable in our society – the unborn, disabled and elderly.

Where the enemy exists to steal, kill and destroy,
Jesus came to give life – and give it abundantly.

Minnesota Family Council is thrilled to continue working with legislators who have worked diligently to pursue pro-life initiatives, often in the face of fierce adversity from their colleagues and the public. There are many champions in both the Minnesota House and Senate who are advancing pro-life legislation this session. Please keep them in your prayers. Although the pro-life majorities in both the Minnesota House and Senate are encouraging, Governor Dayton has signaled he will veto any pro-life legislation that makes its way to his desk and Planned Parenthood advocate, Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith, still threatens any efforts to defund or investigate the abortion giant.

That’s why we march for the unborn, vulnerable and voiceless.
We march for their rights, protection, health, freedom and prosperity. 

Please join us as we keep marching for life abundant.

 

Published on by Stephani Liesmaki.

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Beyond the Gateway

By Amanda Hage, Administrative Assistant
Student Statesmanship Institute

Imagine walking under the Gateway Arch, from the east side to the west. The Mississippi-Missouri is behind you. Before you, a grassy green lawn stretches out to the Old Courthouse and the eastside of downtown St. Louis. Indifferently, you shrug your shoulders. “That’s it—the American West. I’ve seen it all now. That’s good enough for me.” Tragic, isn’t it?

That's good enough for me.

Sadly, many young Christians do not realize they hold a similar mentality about their salvation and walk with God. Unaware of the scope a Christian’s salvation entails, they remain babies in Christ. Take it a step farther. If Christians are not maturing, gaining a deeper understanding of the treasures in God’s Word, who they are in Christ, and what children of God are called to, how can they communicate the truth to the world? How can they expect to impact their culture?

The St. Louis Arch is called the Gateway to the West for a reason. Have you ever traveled beyond the great Mississippi-Missouri? Beyond the Continental Divide? If you have, then you understand what I’m talking about. West of those geographical landmarks lies a vast, land of physical wonders. Beyond the miracle of salvation is a life of walking hand in hand with God, exploring the riches of the gospel, learning to know His mind and ways in all aspects of life.

As children of God, we must know what we believe and why—then how to walk in the Gospel of Peace. This is why I work for MN Student Statesmanship Institute, to give teenagers another opportunity to strengthen their relationship with Christ. MN Student Statesmanship Institute is a week-long camp where teenagers soak up Christian worldview teaching, participate in a hands-on leadership simulation, and network with Christians in public leadership roles. Through the Biblical teaching and real-world application, I pray that God will sanctify and shape every SSI student’s life for His glory. I hope to see the Holy Spirit inspire every student to journey beyond the gateway of salvation to discover the precious treasures hidden in Christ. The way is hard. But it’s worth the struggle—and as the family of God, we’re in it together. Will you join us?

Will you join us in this effort to build up the household of God? There is much you can do to help the next generation shine brightly in our dark culture. You can encourage teenagers you know to enroll in this dynamic program, sponsor a student financially, contribute to our financial aid fund, or volunteer as a camp counselor. We would also be blessed to have you join us in prayer, asking the Lord to work mightily through every part of the SSI week, for the praise of His glory. There is true joy in serving our Savior by reaching into the lives of others. That’s why I love being involved with SSI year-round. I hope and pray you are able to invest somehow as well! Let’s make the journey together! 

Published on by Stephani Liesmaki.

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First, be an Evangelist

By John Helmberger, CEO Minnesota Family Council

Imagine that you’re a Christian living in Damascus, Syria, just a few short years after the birth of the church in Jerusalem following the Lord’s ascension.

You responded to the gospel after the Good News was carried to your city by believers fleeing the great persecution of the church that arose in Jerusalem only a year earlier, when the Jewish authorities there became alarmed by its rapid growth and widespread favor with the people.

You’ve also been sobered by the reports from Jerusalem about a man named Saul, from Tarsus, who “was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison,” as recounted in the Book of Acts, Chapter 8.

Now, even more unsettling is the news that Saul, “still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord,” has obtained letters giving him authority to travel to Damascus – your city – “so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem!” (Acts 9:1-2)

Well, having stepped into his shoes for a moment, perhaps you can understand the hesitation of a disciple in Damascus named Ananias when God gave him an unnerving assignment with this same Saul:

"And the Lord said to him, 'Rise and go...look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.'” (Acts 9:11-12)

“But, but, but..."
you can almost hear Ananias sputter.

"Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name!” (Acts 9:13-14)

But the Lord persisted:

“Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.” (Acts 9:15)

And you know the rest of the story, how this Saul became Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, and one of the giants of the Christian faith.

I couldn’t help thinking, as I recently reflected on this passage, of what Dr. Russell Moore expressed well in his book, Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel, which I highly recommend:

The next Jonathan Edwards might be the man driving in front of you with the Darwin Fish bumper decal. The next Charles Wesley might be a misogynistic, profanity-spewing hip-hop artist right now. The next Charles Spurgeon might be managing an abortion clinic right now. The next Mother Teresa might be a heroin-addicted porn star right now... 

“…That atheist on the highway in front of you, the one who just shot you an obscene gesture, he might be the one who evangelizes your grandchildren.”

And perhaps most importantly for culture warriors:

“Our public witness ought never to back down in confronting injustice... But we ought to always recognize that those we are arguing with, including sometimes the most vitriolic of our opponents, just may be our future brother and sister in Christ… We must fight for the culture, yes, but we should never be such culture warriors that we cannot be evangelists first.”

I think that’s part of what it means to “behave as citizens worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27). And that’s what we’re committed to. Join us!

Source: Russell Moore, Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel, p. 214-216. On Amazon here.

 

Published on by Stephani Liesmaki.

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Praying Like It Matters in Minnesota

By Pastor Jeff Evans, MFC Director of Alliances

We’ve all done it. We offer up a half-hearted and generic prayer. “Lord, thank you for so-and-so, and… um… give them all that they need. Amen. Pass the potatoes, please.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. Jesus is in the business of taking our prayers and presenting them wonderfully and faithfully reworked before the Father. Simple prayers are used mightily by God when they are offered in sincerity and trust, regardless of how broken and frayed they may seem to us and others. But, we’re not talking about those. 

We’re talking about the prayers that are impersonal, careless, and even lazy. We should know how to pray specifically for our children because we value them and take time to listen to them. We should care enough about our friends to ask them good questions that lead to good prayers. And the people in our church? Yeah, some of them might be a little difficult to get to know, but we should put forth some effort to pursue them and then pray for them. But, too often, we don’t.

Do an honest assessment of what you believe about prayer.

Does God hear them? Is He in the business of answering prayer, often in ways that surprise our narrow expectations? Are our prayers more or less effective when we pray in such a way that shows we’ve been paying attention to the things God says are important?

Paul, in 1 Timothy 2:1-6, says:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, forkings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

As much as Minnesota Family Council tries to keep you apprised of important matters facing those in "high position” so that you can pray and act, there is something more that all of us can do. We can lovingly pursue our leaders, showing our care for them as people and our earnest desire to pray for them. While it may be difficult to get even one minute with the President, it is relatively easy to arrange a meeting with your state or local representative. And, you’ll surprise them when you come to them first asking how you can meaningfully pray for them because that is a matter of first importance to you. What’s more, you’ll be dealing a major blow to a very deep problem in our state: our lack of intentional prayer.

So, here’s a challenge for you.
Pray like you mean it.

Pray like our churches, families, and state depend upon it. Pray not like a preening Pharisee but a humble follower of Christ who has the attentive ear of the Almighty. Pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Pray so that "we may lead peaceful and quiet lives, godly and dignified in every way.” And then know this: "The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16). It very well may be that our biggest effect for the good of Minnesota will be on our knees.

Published on by Stephani Liesmaki.

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Open the door. It's your house.

By Stephani Liesmaki, MFC Director of Communications

Around every corner they stood. Giant, closed wooden doors blocked every entrance. Not one stood open. I couldn't help but wonder who I would find if I opened those doors and what happened behind them.

I was a teenager then, but still remember the unexpected words of our tour guide, "This is the people's house. It's your house. These doors are not closed to you. Open them."

And that's exactly what we did the rest of the day. We opened doors.

We opened doors to schedule appointments with legislators, to submit notes for delivery to our Representatives on the House Floor, to listen to men and women share about their journey into elected office, and to watch live legislative developents in committee hearings, floor sessions, and research departments.

The way we understand, engage, and pray for governing authorities
dramatically changes the day we start opening doors.

You and I live in a democracy and have the privilege and responsibility of electing those who will represent us in government. However, democracy doesn't end at the ballot box. It begins there. We have the privilege and responsibility of developing relationships with and influencing those whom we elect. To do so, we need to get comfortable with our house and the individuals who represent us there.

SEVEN steps you can take to OPEN DOORS into the legislative process, relationships with elected officials, and the people's house:

  1. TOUR the MN State Capitol Building, MN State Office Building, MN Senate Building, and the Judicial Building by participating in one of our St. Paul 101 tours. Email tom@mfc.org for more information.
  2. Schedule a MEETING with your state Representative and state Senator. Find out who represents you here. Share your gratitude for their willingness to represent you in this challenging public service role.
  3. WATCH a live House and Senate session from the gallery or online. Most floor sessions are open to the public. 
  4. Send a NOTE to your legislator on the House or Senate Floor by giving a House or Senate Page your note. They will deliver the note to your legislator.
  5. Let your legislators know what issues you care about and then CONTACT them when you feel that certain pieces of legislation need to be supported or opposed.
  6. Keep INFORMED and ENGAGED on life, family, and religious freedom issues in the MN Senate and MN House via Minnesota Family Council's emails, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and website
  7. Ask your Representative and Senator if there is anything specific they would like you to pray for. Then, PLEASE PRAY for them!

Your Representative and Senator cannot represent you in government if they don't know who you are, what you stand for, and what your values are. This legislative session, take a wise tour guide's advice,

"This is the people's house. It's your house.
These doors are not closed to you. Open them."

 

Published on by Stephani Liesmaki.

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